Depression Affects More Young People Than Ever, Say Researchers


In the last years, the numbers of teens and millennials that suffer from major depression have increased in the US. The research was conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which analyzed medical data on major depression. The overall rate was 4.4%, with the rates increasing to 33% between 2013-2016. In teens, the rates increased to 63% and 47% in millennials.

However, rates of depression in 2016 varied between the states. The highest rate was in Rhode Island – 6.4%, while in Hawaii was as low as 2.1% and in Nevada 3.2%.

Different cities had almost the same rates: a high of 6.8% was in Topeka, Kansas and a low of 1.5% was in Laredo, Texas. Other cities like McAllen, Edinburg, and Mission (Texas) had 2%.

Women Twice Likely to Be Diagnosed With Major Depression

The cases diagnosed with major depression were double in women than men.

People with major depression are prone to developing one or more chronic health conditions, according to the report. Therefore, they also use more health care services, spending more on it, compared to what does without a depression spend (almost $10,673 compared to $4,283).

Trent Haywood is the senior vice president and chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield. He explains in a news release that:

“Major depression diagnoses are growing quickly, especially for adolescents and millennials. The high rates for adolescents and millennials could have a substantial health impact for decades to come.”

Haywood also added that they would need to look more into how to effectively treat major depression, so that patients can recover and get healthier.

Social Media Equals Social Isolation – Leading to Depression

Dr. Karyn Horowitz is a psychiatrist affiliated with Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in East Providence (R.I.). She has an explanation for the rapid increase in depression among young people:

“It is possible that the increased rates of depression in adolescents are related to a combination of increased electronics use and sleep disruptions in already vulnerable individuals. Increased use of electronics, video games more commonly in boys and social media/texting more commonly in girls, can lead to increased conflict both within the home and with peers.”

Haywood admits that the previous studies on depression have linked social media to a higher rate of isolation, thus causing people to feel depressed. He stresses that they should further explore this link between depression and social media.


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